Summer 2022 Newsletter

Page 1


MURAL INSTALLATION Complexity, vibrancy of St. Vincent de Paul’s mission is captured in a new mural installed on Bank Street

Society of St. Vincent de Paul—Cincinnati District Council


income all during the same day. For me, that has been a common occurrence.

Time flies when you are having fun! That old, wise saying certainly applies to my experience as the Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati (SVDP). I began my journey as the Executive Director on June 1, 2015. I did not have clear expectations of what the journey would entail, only that I was excited to have the opportunity to serve in this way.

Neighbors helping Neighbors is so simple, yet so beautiful and complex. Who really is doing the helping and who really is being helped? I have learned so much about my fellow neighbor and myself during these last seven plus years. This has been the most life-giving professional experience I have ever had, by a long shot.

My wife, Anne, and my kids, James, Katie and Emily, are remaining in Cincinnati and we will continue to support SVDP in any way we can. SVDP has made such a significant positive impact on my life, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have had. Thank you! Should you have questions about this transition, please contact Alison Zlatic, SVDP District Council President, at

Whatever expectations I did have, clearly my experiences have surpassed those expectations. My time at SVDP has been such a gift. I have met so many tremendous people and had so many memorable experiences. There are not many positions where you have the opportunity to meet with a Vincentian, a city leader, a generous donor, a homeless person, and a single mom trying to raise her family on an entry-level

There is never a great time to step away from such a wonderful organization, but as SVDP begins to make preparations for its new strategic plan to be implemented on October 1, 2023, I thought this window of time was best for such a move, both for the organization, as well as for the new Executive Director who succeeds me. December 31, 2022 will be my last day as Executive Director. I am confident we will hire someone great to guide SVDP into the future.


Your role in the Society: President of St. Bernard, Spring Grove Village Conference. I also worked at the Liz Carter Center on Bank Street for 10 years: four as Client Advocate, six as Social Services Team Leader.

Name: Bob Mierenfeld

Most memorable home visit? On one visit I entered an apartment with no furniture. What caught my eye was three small bowls of what looked like milk on the kitchen floor. I assumed they had cats until the mother called the three small children down for their breakfast. They sat on the kitchen floor and ate what must have been cereal from those bowls. The experience taught me the value of the home visit for seeing the extent of need the neighbors are experiencing.

How long have you been a Vincentian? 24 ½ years Conference: St. Bernard, Spring Grove Village

Mike Dunn, Executive Director

What has made you stick with this ministry? It gives me a way to respond to God’s call to love my neighbor and I feel privileged to be a small part of God’s work in caring for the poor. Our neighbors often say we are an answer to their prayers. I feel connected to the Body of Christ by the support of the Staff, other Vincentians and the generosity of our individual and corporate contributors. I enjoy the camaraderie of the other Vincentians and have a very committed and supportive Conference. It makes me feel more hopeful and positive about our Church and our community. I have also been inspired by many of the neighbors I encounter who are enduring extreme circumstances but continue to support their families. Biggest lesson you’ve learned as a Vincentian? I learned not to make assumptions, judgments or decisions until I’ve heard a neighbor’s story. Even then, not to assume we know their full story. I’ve tried to listen with respect and humility and to be fully present to them. 2


CLOE JONES HONORED AS SVDP’S INAUGURAL FRASSATI SCHOLAR Cloe Jones, McNicholas H.S. Class of 2022, has been selected as this year’s Frassati Scholarship winner. Cloe was selected in recognition of her involvement with the SVDP Youth Conference at McNicholas, where she served as its vice president for the past two years, as well as her demonstrated commitment to the Vincentian values of faith, friendship and service. In a letter recommending Cloe for the Frassati award, Teresa M. Davis, Theology Educator at McNicholas, applauds Cloe’s efforts to make other students feel welcome within their group. “Cloe is the student who will make those students who may be quiet and on the sidelines have a positive encounter at our meetings and events,” Davis writes. “She is a welcoming hand of

inclusion and diversity, ensuring to greet new, shy students to encourage confidence.”

Cloe says she stepped up to a leadership role in the SVDP Youth Conference at McNicholas after being involved in a car crash during her junior year of high school. “I truly understood what it was like to be here one day and gone the next,” Cloe says, reflecting on the incident. As she underwent physical therapy and recovered from speech and vision issues, Cloe says she decided she needed to use her voice for things she is passionate about. One of those things was – and still is – service to those in need. “I felt God calling me,” Cloe says. “Now, I continue to learn more and more and see how service is truly God’s kindness and love in action.” Cloe will apply the $1,000 Frassati Scholarship to her next journey at Kent State University this fall, where she will major in marketing with a minor in social justice studies. The Frassati Scholarship, established in 2022, is awarded annually by St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati in memory of Neal Johnson Lain, a dedicated young Vincentian. It is named after Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, the patron of Vincentian youth around the world.

CHARITABLE PHARMACY DIRECTOR NAMED ‘HEALTH CARE HERO’ Dr. Rusty Curington, PharmD, RPh, BC-AMD, Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy, was recognized by the Cincinnati Business Courier as one of its 2022 Health Care Heroes. Curington took home the top honor in the Manager category, in recognition of his leadership of a team of staff and volunteers who deliver free prescriptions and pharmaceutical care to patients across Southwest Ohio. The Charitable Pharmacy, which has filled over 650,000 prescriptions since operations began in 2006, has received accolades both regionally and nationally for improving health outcomes for its patients. “The markers of success at the Charitable Pharmacy are

patient-centric,” Curington says, highlighting measures such as the 51% reduction in patient hospitalizations and 64% of patients with improved diabetes control. “Our pharmacists function as health care’s private tutors, empowering patients to both know and improve their health metrics.” The Business Courier also highlighted the Charitable Pharmacy’s addition of a nurse practitioner during the COVID-19 pandemic, which Curington explains was born in response to patients’ needs for an accessible primary care provider. Says Curington: “When someone leaves the ER or hospital without a prescription, they need immediate medication access with physician follow-up. Whether in-person or via telehealth, the Charitable Pharmacy now closes both medication and health service gaps to prevent hospital readmissions and improve patient health.” For more updates about St. Vincent de Paul and highlights of news coverage, be sure to follow our social media pages @SVDPcincinnati. SVDPCINCINNATI.ORG


Becky Catino: Empowering Women Striving for Self-Sufficiency Becky Catino has long been a passionate advocate for supporting neighbors who are on a pathway to self-sufficiency. An entrepreneur and businesswoman by trade, Becky’s empathetic heart and concern for the underserved has underscored her involvement with St. Vincent de Paul, alongside her husband Ted, for many years. Their names, emblazoned above the doorway to our choice food pantry, welcome neighbors who visit St. Vincent de Paul’s Neyer Outreach Center for assistance with food, hygiene supplies and other personal care items.

The program will empower women to achieve self-sufficiency and stability through one-on-one counseling and mentoring, group support and encouragement, and financial aid. Focusing on highly-motivated individuals, the core of the program is each woman’s desire to improve her financial security and her willingness to work hard to achieve her goals. In Catino’s words, “It will offer them a fighting chance to overcome those very difficult realities and challenges they face…our goal is to stop frustration and despair from transferring on to the next generation.”

Women in particular, Becky knows, are often faced with unique challenges, not only when it comes to accessing life’s basic necessities, but also in moving up the economic ladder. “The women I met [through my volunteer work with SVDP] had very specific challenges, which often kept them from meeting their goals. Support systems are critical…and I found that those just did not exist,” says Catino.

Women who are enrolled in the Becky Catino Women’s Stability, Employment and Empowerment Program will work closely with Program Manager, Tara Kerrigan, to develop a career plan that, when implemented, will improve their professional skills and lead to steady employment. Financial support needed to implement that career plan, such as for tuition, work attire or professional licensing, will be provided by St. Vincent de Paul. Kerrigan says the biggest need she’s seeing at the moment is for the latter. “When you are in medical assisting or certain fields you must keep up on your education and licensing fees to work. What we have heard from multiple women is that COVID stopped them from having opportunities for internships and classes that they

That is why Becky and Ted Catino have committed $1 million to create the Becky Catino Women’s Stability, Employment and Empowerment Program Fund to support the development and ongoing operations of St. Vincent de Paul’s Becky Catino Women’s Stability, Employment and Empowerment Program. 4


would need to progress in their field,” Kerrigan says. “SVDP will be helping with connecting them to the classes they need and helping with the costs of licensure or reinstatement.” Recruitment for the program began earlier this summer, and the very first program participant receiving coaching and mentoring from Kerrigan started in July. “I have been humbled that I have been given the privilege of laying the foundation for something I am passionate about,” Kerrigan says, calling it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Catino has a message for these inaugural participants: “My goal, through this program, is to pass on to them optimism and hope…which will ultimately continue to impact the next generation.”

Tara Walsh-Kerrigan, Catino Women’s Self Sufficiency Program Manager

MAGNIFYING OUR MISSION Home to the Neyer Outreach Center and the Liz Carter Center, our Bank Street campus in Cincinnati’s West End has been bustling with activity this summer! These new projects are helping to accentuate our mission in our indoor and outdoor spaces.

ST. VINCENT DE PAUL STATUE RENOVATION For years, a waist-high statue depicting St. Vincent de Paul in black garments, cradling an infant girl in his right arm, has greeted neighbors walking through the doors of the Liz Carter Center on Bank Street. The statue was the first friendly face many neighbors would see as they were seeking assistance at our Outreach Center. Now, after enduring years of erosion and weathering, this likeness of our patron saint is getting a major makeover. Leading the project is local artist, Rebecca Jones, who says the repairs have been challenging. “When I first found St. Vincent de Paul he was in poor shape,” Jones says. “He was leaning against the wall and still connected to the rest of the body by only his feet. The base was caving in with a big chunk of his back deteriorating.” Jones suspects water damage, from years in the entry way, has caused the statue’s destabilization. She has been making progress on St. Vincent’s restoration over the past

few months by adding plaster to his base and back and filling numerous cracks throughout his body. Eventually, St. Vincent de Paul will get a fresh coat of paint and will return to his “home” on Bank Street. Thank you to Rebecca Jones for volunteering her time and expertise to give St. Vincent these much-needed repairs.

weaves together the many diverse experiences of both those who serve and those who are served by our organization and can be interpreted in infinitely inventive ways. Signage explaining Westerkamp’s vision for the piece will be added to the second floor of the Neyer Outreach Center in the coming weeks – check it out next time you visit!

ARTWORKS MURAL A mural project with local organization, Artworks Cincinnati, culminated in early June with a dedication ceremony to celebrate the new installation inside the Don & Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center. The mural was commissioned by Artworks and created by local artist and muralist Tina Westerkamp. Funding for the project was partly secured through a generous grant from the Louise Taft Semple Foundation.

RAISED GARDEN BEDS Several new raised garden beds installed behind the Liz Carter Center are producing a plentiful harvest this summer. Food Pantry Manager Demi Schoenherr, leading the project, expects the garden beds to produce more than 200 lbs. of fresh veggies, directly benefitting the Catino Choice Food Pantry, throughout the summer.

Westerkamp’s design brings SVDP’s mission to life, drawing on key figures from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s history, imagery from the Gospels, aspects of Vincentian spirituality and depictions of our work in the community. It beautifully

“I wanted a source of produce that offered consistency,” Shoenherr says. “I also wanted to offer types of produce that are favored by our community members – such as collard greens and peppers.” Other varieties, including lettuce, pole beans and zucchini are thriving in our backyard community garden and have been flying off pantry shelves.




CELEBRATION OF SERVICE RAISES $576,000 FOR HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION St. Vincent de Paul honored Sherie Marek and Linda Mueller at its seventh annual Celebration of Service, held Thursday, May 19 at Anderson Pavilion and Carol Ann’s Carousel at The Banks. Nearly 300 guests gathered to celebrate Marek and Mueller’s longtime involvement with St. Vincent de Paul and their advocacy for Cincinnati’s neighbors in need. Through gifts made in Marek and Mueller’s honor, sponsorships and ticket sales, this year’s Celebration of Service raised $576,000 to support SVDP’s Homelessness Prevention Program – a record amount for this event. This support will enable St. Vincent de Paul to provide rent or utilities assistance to more Cincinnati families, empowering them to stay safely in the comforts of their home. Special thanks to our platinum sponsor, Protective Life Corporation.

St. Vincent de Paul extends record heat relief “It’s a blessing,” Della says, sitting in her kitchen on a hot and sunny summer afternoon. A new air conditioning unit is keeping the temperature inside of her Bond Hill apartment cool and comfortable – a stark contrast to the humid, heavy air that is making the 90 degree day feel closer to 100 outside. A few weeks earlier, Della was watching a local news program when she heard a story about St. Vincent de Paul Neighbor Alice W. and her granddaughter pick up an A/C unit distributing air conditioning units to neighbors over the age of from SVDP – just days before Alice’s 89th birthday! 65, or to those who have a medical need. “It was still spring, but I knew summer was coming,” Della says. She completed an application and was able to receive one of those A/C units a short time later. Facing the devastating loss of her mother in the early days of summer, Della says having air conditioning has helped make visitors to her home a little more comfortable during a difficult time. “It was a Godsend,” Della says, recalling visits from relatives and counselors who have sat with her over the past few weeks. For Della, having air conditioning is one small burden lifted in a season of grief and loss. Della is just one of over 864 neighbors who received an air conditioning unit through our Fan & A/C Distribution, thanks to supporters like you. An additional 1,522 received a new box fan – a record number for this program! A sincere thank you to everyone in our community who has recognized how crucial this effort is and has responded with generosity. 6




LATE AUGUST HOPE TO DREAM Having a warm, cozy bed to lay down in at night is a good place to start to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many in our community don’t have that basic comfort and are laying down to sleep on the floor. On August 27, thanks to our Hope to Dream partnership with Morris Home Furniture and WCPO 9, we’ll provide 75 kids with a bed of their own, setting them up for success as we approach the start of a new school year. We’ll host a telethon on WCPO 9 on August 23 to provide beds to even more kids throughout the year. A gift of $175 provides a bed. Stay tuned for more details! SEPTEMBER 9 FEAST DAY OF BLESSED FREDERIC OZANAM One of the prime founders of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Blessed Frederic Ozanam believed in “love, the love of God for every individual.” Born in 1813 in Milan, France, Frederic was a gifted scholar and a champion for the Catholic faith. When he was challenged by a fellow student to “show us your works!” Frederic rose to the task. He and a group of peers formed the first “Conference of Charity,” visiting and help the poor in Paris. They named their Society after St. Vincent de Paul, who lived in and worked in France over 150 years earlier.

SEPTEMBER 27 FEAST DAY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL “It is not sufficient for me to love God if I do not love my neighbor. I belong to God and to the poor.” On September 27, the Catholic Church honors St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century priest known for his work to care for the sick, suffering, prisoners, and all who are marginalized. St. Vincent de Paul is now recognized as the patron saint of charitable organizations. Consider celebrating with us through intentional prayer or by performing a random act of kindness.

SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER TACKLE HUNGER GCL FOOTBALL FOOD DRIVE During our Tackle Hunger food drive, crosstown rivals come together to support neighbors in need. GCL football fans are invited to bring non-perishable food items to select games, with the proceeds benefitting St. Vincent de Paul’s network of food pantries. Please keep an eye on our website as more details are finalized.

OCTOBER 20 RETROFITTINGS RetroFittings, a one-of-a-kind fashion show and fundraising event benefitting St. Vincent de Paul, will return to Music Hall this October! Teaming up with University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), RetroFittings showcases the original designs from students in UC’s top-ranked fashion program. Students from DAAP shop at St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores and turn items they find into runway fashion.

OCTOBER TRUNK OR TREAT Each Halloween, we invite our neighbors in the West End to enjoy some family-friendly fun in the Liz Carter Center parking lot. We strive to create a safe space for the kids to play games, get their faces painted, and collect plenty-o-candy to celebrate the spooky season.



Non Profit Org US Postage Paid Cincinnati, OH Permit #1106 1125 Bank Street Cincinnati, OH 45214-2130

The Becky & Ted Catino Choice Food Pantry is busier than ever before these days! The Pantry served 1,542 families in June, alone – over twice the number of families served in June of 2021. With the impact of inflation and kids home from school in the summer, the need for food assistance is great. Help stock the shelves of the Pantry by donating food and hygiene items today. Most needed items include: • Cereal • Beans • Rice • Toilet Paper

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.